Release Blitz: Finding Aloha #sweet #contemporaryromnace #youngadult @firstforromance @finchbooks

Finding Aloha By Jennifer Walker

General Release Date: 22nd February2022

Word Count: 80,011
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 289



Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Jess moves to Maui anticipating a world of beaches, boys and bikinis. Romance with a passionate local and the discovery that her presence puts his family at risk? Not in the tourist brochure.

Her mother is having a baby with a man who is not her father, and her best friend has been secretly dating her boyfriend. Seventeen-year-old Jess Kennedy desperately needs a new life.

When her father accepts a job offer in Maui, Jess feels like this could be the fresh start she craves. The island’s beauty and charm provide a stark contrast to her home back in Canada. But the elite social hierarchy of Maui Gardens Charter School proves to be a thorny world to navigate.

Then in swoops Kai Kamealoha, a surf-loving Maui local with a fierce loyalty to his family and a passion for preserving his home’s natural beauty. Kai shows Jess that Maui is much more than the sun, surf and sand of tourism brochures, and he introduces her to an authentic look at Hawaiian life.

Jess can’t help but fall in love with Maui—and maybe with Kai Kamealoha as well. So, when she discovers that a real estate developer is forcing Kai’s family to sell their ancestral farm, she’s determined to help him find a way to save it. But digging deeper exposes a duplicity within her own family. Her presence there may be putting Kai’s family in jeopardy. Leaving the island for good may be her only option.

Reader advisory: This book contains mention of divorce, infidelity, racism by a secondary character, and a brief scene of sexual assault.


The garlic from Dad’s Caesar salad clings to my breath and burns my eyes as I hide away under this stifling blanket.

Crap. I should’ve brushed my teeth. Why didn’t I think about brushing my teeth?

I rack my brain trying to remember where I might have put a pack of gum or a Tic Tac, or God, even one of those disgusting cough drops. But my mind comes up blank.

My chest burns, forcing me to do some of those short, panicky breaths dogs do when they first show up at the vet. It’s been forever since I’ve taken a fresh breath of air. All I want to do is toss these suffocating blankets off me and smooth the frizzy mane my hair has become. But I’m paralyzed, terrified someone will barge in without knocking and my nightly rendezvous with Marcus won’t be able to continue.

In one desperate move, I pop my face out of the covers and gulp in air like it’s water from an oasis.

Sweet, sweet oxygen!

My brain starts functioning again and has a chance to fantasize about what’s about to take place. How thrilling it’s going to be to see his face again…to kiss those lips, press my body against his. The deceit… The sneaking out… I’m not going to lie. It makes this all feel so…so…badass. And lately, well lately, I’ve enjoyed a bit of badass.

As if he knows right this second that I’m thinking about him, there’s a buzz in the pocket of my jeans, and it sends a deeper buzz through the rest of my body.

Without rustling the covers, I carefully slide my hand under my butt and pry my phone out without allowing my bed to creak and groan. The screen lights up and buzzes again, making me smile with what’s written. It’s from Marcus.

You coming? I’m already here. Can’t wait to see you. Brought a little treat for us too.

He sends an emoji of two people kissing, followed by a leaf emoji. Meaning he’s brought a joint, but I giggle because it looks like he’s brought us a salad. Is there a weed emoji? Probably better he didn’t use that anyway, just in case Mom and Dad ever creep on my phone. No one can get in trouble for sneaking out to eat a salad.

I expertly navigate the screen with my thumb as I text him back underneath the covers.

Yeah, I think they’re both asleep. Coming now. Can’t wait to see you too—and eat salad with you lol.

In one swift movement, I throw the covers off and roll over to sit up. As I stand, I reach around to return my phone to the back pocket of my jeans, but it slips through my hand and lands with a crash on the hardwood floor.


I’m not sure whether it’s loud enough for my parents to hear. I still my body and hold my breath one more time, listening for any sign of footsteps through the hall.

I’m sleepwalking. That’s what I’ll tell them. Yeah, if they ask, I’ll just mumble something incoherent about algebra, then wander back to bed, pretending not to remember in the morning. I might have a tough time explaining why I’m sleeping in jeans and a T-shirt, but whatever. It’s not like I can get in trouble for sleepwalking. I mean, how could I get in trouble for something I don’t even remember?

I wait for a few more seconds, then exhale a slow and relieved breath, because all is silent other than the faint sh…sh…sh…of my dad’s CPAP machine in the other room. Alleluia for sleep apnea! It has made this whole sneaking out thing way easier. The only downside is that Mom has recently made the spare bedroom on the main floor her own personal refuge. She claimed Dad was just too noisy to sleep beside, which was weird at first. He used to snore louder than a train whistle before the machine, and she didn’t seem to have a problem with it then.

But when I started questioning why they were sleeping in separate rooms, it got me thinking about Tamara Lindsay. Poor Tamara Lindsay, who accidentally walked in on her parents in a very compromising position—position number 69 if we want to get real about it. And now Tamara is damaged for life. Seriously. The details Tamara gave? No one needs to see their parents doing that.

So, I figured whatever. If Mom and Dad no longer want to sleep together, it just means that at least I won’t ever have to worry about walking in on things Moms and Dads should not be allowed to do. What it does mean is that I have to be a little more careful about creeping past Mom’s bedroom downstairs.

I crane my head toward my bedroom door and don’t hear any footsteps coming up the stairs. I’m positive Mom is asleep by now.

I peer at the clock as I reach down to retrieve my phone.

Twelve-fourteen a.m.

Yeah, they’ve both got to be asleep for sure.

My jacket is draped over one arm, and I hold my pair of red Converse with my other hand as I inch my way across my room. I open the door soundlessly, grateful that I convinced Dad to fix the creak in it last weekend. After a quick glance across the hall and into the front room, I gently close the door behind me and tiptoe all the way down the stairs, making sure to skip the step third from the bottom because of the groan it makes. My heart gallops like a racehorse the whole way. I’m convinced Mom and Dad are going to barge out of their rooms any second to pounce on me.

But somehow I slide past Mom’s bedroom without incident and make it to the back patio door. I don’t dare creep out through the garage or the front door. That would basically be suicide. But the patio door is quiet, discreet and leads to a perfect escape route just left of the house. There’s a large pine tree there, wedged between the fence and the shed. It creates cover and forms a darkened shadow, despite the glare of the porch light that is always left on. All I need to do is inch my way down the length of the shadow, all the way to the far corner of the yard. The fence is old and needs to be rebuilt, and sharp slivers dig into my bare arms as I slide along it. But I’m eternally thankful for my parents’ procrastination in fixing it so my nightly escapades can continue.

Once I reach the end of the yard, I pry loose the third board from the left, the one I wedged back in last night. I lean it against the neighboring boards and squeeze myself through the ten-inch gap in the fence.

Crap, my T-shirt snags on a rough edge of wood as I squeeze through, and I swear under my breath. I just paid full price for it at H&M. Oh well, this is worth it—totally worth it.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker is a teacher and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She lives with her husband Ian, her two children Everett and Kennedy, and her impossibly sweet Bernedoodle puppy Leo. When she’s not teaching, writing, or reading, you can most likely find her in a yoga studio, in the kitchen baking muffins, or running off the calories of the muffins she’s just baked. She’s famous for publicly embarrassing her family by singing terrible show-tunes and practicing 90’s dance moves, and if this whole writing thing doesn’t work out, she’s pretty sure she could make it as the fifth Wiggle.

You can find out more about Jennifer at her website.


Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Blitz: Each and Every Summer by L.A. Tavares #sweetromance #contemporaryromance @Totally_Bound

Each and Every Summer by L A Tavares

Word Count: 76,038
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 297



Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Time heals some wounds.

The first time Lyla Savoie Kenney found love—boundless, passionate love—it wasn’t with a person but a place. She found deep-rooted endearment there, and in keeping with tradition, it caused her first real heartbreak too.

Lyla grew up on the beaches at Begoa’s Point, a campground she and her father visited each summer for seventeen years. She spent each non-summer month counting down the days until she could return, until going back was no longer an option. Begoa’s Point closed with no explanation.

Fifteen years later, now a widowed mother with a child of her own, Begoa’s Point is reopening its doors. Lyla is surprised when she is abruptly moved off the waiting list and given a reservation at the camp, but even more surprising is what she finds when she arrives.

Weston Accardi, the first boy Lyla ever gave her heart to, is the proud new owner of the Begoa’s property. He has changed—and not just because a prosthetic leg now exists where a natural limb once did. He is no longer the carefree rebel he used to be but has grown into a responsible businessman.

Their past, however, refuses to remain such, cycling back to smother the fire they’ve tried so hard to rebuild since her arrival to the reopened campground.


The campground was quiet. Not silent, but quiet. Silence on the grounds was a rarity. Birds chirped and critters snapped twigs and crunched leaves as they ran through the abundant foliage, sounding off their small, happy-to-be-out-of-hibernation squeaks. The fire Weston Accardi kept lit continuously, day and night, crackled and popped as it chewed into the pieces of wood he fed it.

Soon the soundtrack of the campground would transform from its current nature-inspired sounds to a blend of noises that belonged to the incoming camping families. Children would run and play, shrieking at decibels specific to summertime. Their laughter and yells would echo through the plush pine trees as parents unpacked the camping gear and essentials from the overloaded trucks to prepare the site that they would call home for the duration of their stay. Music—both played through Bluetooth speakers and strummed on old guitars—would travel from the dirt driveways beneath each RV and become one with cloudless blue sky above.

Each currently bare site would have a tent or RV secured on it, and every available rental trailer or cottage would have people occupying them. Every single one, Weston thought as he thumbed through countless pages of reservations. He’d requested the bookings be printed and delivered to the site he’d claimed as ‘The Owner’s Headquarters’ during the off-season renovations. The rest of the employees had WiFi access within the offices and laptops or tablets to view the information and spreadsheets, but Weston found nostalgic peace of mind by holding the printed reservations in his hand the exact way his father before him had done while sitting in the very same chair. A half-grin slid onto Weston’s cheeks. He was pleased with the turnout of reservations for the grand reopening of Begoa’s Point Family Campground. His father would have been too, had he been alive to see it.

Weston tucked the most recent reservation listings into the worn-out openings of the accordion-style folder and tossed it inside the door of his RV, which was situated in a wooded area well away from the hustle and bustle of the main grounds. When his parents had owned the campground more than fifteen years before, they had chosen a site at the center of the grounds directly within earshot of anything and everything going on within their property’s perimeter. They’d preferred it that way—involved, hands-on. In many ways, Weston liked that too, maintaining full control, but when the sun went down, he preferred a hushed space to retreat to in order to separate himself from his work and enjoy the serene nature that surrounded him.

“Achilles.” Weston followed the call with a quick, wet-lipped whistle and a pat of his palm against the thigh of his cargo shorts. He grabbed a leather leash from the picnic table with a clink as the metal clasp sounded against the tabletop. The dog’s ears perked up like antennas receiving a signal. His tail picked up speed, wagging in long, swift motions that swept the sand off the patio mat that covered the land just outside the RV. “Want to go on a run?”

The dog leaped from the shaded dirt area he could usually be found in—a spot he’d claimed to hide away in from Maine’s hot summer rays. He darted toward his owner and pushed his large head into Weston’s hips with a force that almost knocked him over.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Weston used his palm to ruffle the fur between the German Shepherd’s ears. Achilles bounded around in circles with an impressive agility comparable to that of a show dog. With his energy and antics, no one would guess he was missing part of his hind leg. Then again, like pup, like owner. Most people hardly noticed that Weston was an amputee as well. He was a man who ran multiple miles per day, every day, with his dog stuck to his side. He walked all over the campground and was hardly ever seen in a golf cart unless there was an emergency that he needed to handle sooner rather than later. He maneuvered around using his left leg prosthetic as if it were his own natural limb.

Weston stretched out his back and his existing leg before clipping the dog’s leash around his waist. The dog usually ran free, but the leash stayed on Weston’s person in case the need arose for him to use it. Weston took off down the winding dirt path into a long trail of cookie-cutter cottages—empty now but soon to be filled with families ready to embark on their summer camping adventures. There would be some newcomers, but most of the reservation list was composed of returning families from his parents’ time of owning and operating the same campground prior to its untimely closure.

He and Achilles ran uphill, turning a corner to jog past the recently updated tennis and basketball courts, as well as a newly renovated shower and bath house. A custodial worker waved as Weston came around the bend of the road and jogged past.

“Good morning, Larry!” Weston called. Larry tipped his hat in Weston’s direction. Weston had made it a point to learn the name of every employee—a rule of his father’s that he’d inherited and valued. He continued his journey down the pathway toward the beachfront bar and restaurant, stopping where Mark Jenson was readying the place for the upcoming grand reopening. The outdoor bar itself was a new addition, built while the cabins and sites were being remodeled, but Mark was an original employee. A longtime friend of Weston’s father, Mark had run the bar and restaurant during Begoa’s Point’s first run and had agreed to come back to manage the new facility.

“Morning, boss.” Mark moved large boxes of glasses from the ground to the bar top as the sun beat down on the tiki-themed hut while he worked. He wiped his brow on his forearm. His sweat-soaked shirt clung to his skin at his chest and back. “What are we having today?”

“The usual will be fine.” Weston slowed and came to a full stop. Achilles followed suit, coming to a halt, then lying down in the small bit of shade the bar provided.

Mark grabbed a silver bowl from a below-bar cabinet and filled it with water before stepping out from the service area and coming around the bar to serve it to Begoa’s Point’s most prominent VIP. Mark stayed on one knee for a moment, scratching below the dog’s chin. Achilles stood and started lapping water from the bowl, leaving more water on the ground in a messy puddle than he’d swallowed.

Mark returned to his position behind the counter, filled a cup with ice and water and slid it across the bar into Weston’s hand.

“Where are you headed to today?” Mark leaned into the bar.

“All over the grounds, I think. The usual path.” Weston paused to take a sip of the ice-cold water. “At least as far as the marina. I just want to make sure everything is ready to go for the opening.”

“That’s what you said yesterday.” Mark raised an eyebrow. “Then again, it’s what you will probably say tomorrow and the day after that too.”

“I like to be prepared.” Weston sent his now-empty plastic cup back across the bar.

“You will be. You are your father’s son, after all. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Weston looked at Mark, analyzing the new lines that sank into his skin, but other than a few signs of aging, Mark looked almost the same as he had when Weston’s parents had owned the campground before its closure, leaving Mark and many others without a job.

“Thank you for coming back, Mark. This place wouldn’t be the same without you, even after all these years. I’m sorry we ever put you out of a job in the first place.” Weston turned his eyes downward in sadness.

“It’s not your fault, Weston—”

“It is, actually,” Weston interrupted, adjusting his ballcap, with his gaze still glued to the floor. He watched the dog, if for no other reason than to avoid Mark’s eyes. “You know it and so do I.”

“It’s not. You knock that off right now.” Mark’s voice teetered on scolding, and he wagged one aging finger in Weston’s direction. “You know that your dad used to come down to the old bar every night for last call. Every night. He sat on the same barstool each time, and you know what he told me?”

Weston shook his head. He had been only seventeen when his parent’s ownership had come to an end, so he’d not reached the legal drinking age where he could spend those waning nighttime hours with his dad, occupying Mark’s bar stools. His ‘no’ wasn’t an entirely honest answer to Mark’s question, however. He knew what Mark was going to say—what his dad had used to say—but he wanted to hear it. If he couldn’t hear it from his own father, Mark’s affirmation was the next best thing.

“He said it was his dream to see you run this place. So maybe it didn’t happen as he’d expected, but it’s happening, and you should be proud of that. You’re not a kid anymore, Weston. You’ve grown and should be so proud of who you’ve become. Your father would be.”

“I remember that. He used to come down here every night but never had a sip of alcohol.” Weston smiled at the seemingly small memories of his father, but they were anything but insignificant. They were everything.

“I remember watching you run around these grounds, from learning to walk all the way to chasing after the girls on the beach in your teenage years.” Mark continued to speak, but Weston’s mind was elsewhere, time-traveling down a winding path to his childhood.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

L. A. Tavares

When it comes to romance, L A doesn’t have a type. Sometimes it’s dark and devastating, sometimes it’s soft and simple – truly, it just depends what her imaginary friends are doing at the time she starts writing about them.

L A has moved to various parts of the country over the last ten years but her heart has never left Boston.

And no, the “A” does not stand for Anne.

Follow LA on Facebook and Twitter.


Enter for your chance to win a fabulous gift package from romance author L A Tavares and get a FREE eBook from the author!

L.A. Tavares’ Each and Every Summer Giveaway



Acts of Contrition by Peri Elizabeth Scott #ReRelease #ContemporaryRomance @allysonyoung45


Making it up to Maggie

Harrison’s insecurities catch up with him when finds another man, albeit alone, in his girlfriend’s bed. Refusing to hear her explanation, he leaves her. His secretary then meddles in his affairs, effectively driving Maggie away with a vengeance. Upon discovering that woman’s perfidy, Harrison tries to remedy the situation, and then finds out Maggie is pregnant! Determined to win her back, Harrison does his best to provide and care for her from a distance while trying to insinuate himself back into her life.

Hurt and bewildered, Maggie couldn’t believe Harrison would stoop so low, but the evidence seems irrefutable. And now she’s worried Harrison wants her only because she carries his child.

Harrison’s world again spins out of control, and he wonders if he is the best man for Maggie and their child after all…

It’s up to Maggie to teach Harrison his real worth.

Begging Briana

Caleb Younger is certain he will never actually love any woman, having been badly burned in the past because of so-called love. He believes he’s fond of Briana Jeffries, has intense sexual feelings for her, and wants her in his life, but doesn’t love her.

Humiliated, when he says as much while amongst their friends, Briana finally accepts she’s been fooling herself—Caleb will never love her. She leaves him to get on with her life.

His life now empty, Caleb faces the truth. He loves Briana more than anything, and resorts to everything to get her back. But Briana’s friend doesn’t want Briana hurt again and conspires to keep the two apart. A series of events and coincidences play out, giving Caleb the opportunity to beg Briana to take him back.

Buy Links:


Making It Up to Maggie

Harrison increased his grip on the steering wheel of his SUV to a stranglehold. It was the only thing keeping him from jumping out and grabbing Maggie, throwing her in the back seat, and driving off with her. Sanity prevailed, but it was a close call. He marveled again at how a slip of a woman had infiltrated his psyche and undermined his self-control, not to mention teaching him so much on the subject of himself. Before he’d gone and royally screwed things up.

She stood outside the doors of the office building with two of her friends. Even at a distance, he saw her energy and light while she conversed animatedly with Veronica and Joyce, although he’d noticed shadows beneath her eyes and a certain gauntness hollowing her cheeks whenever he’d been able to get closer to her.

Her blonde hair streamed around her shoulders in the gusty wind, and her dress was pulled tightly against her long, slender frame, molding her high breasts and the slight, swelling roundness of her belly. His baby was growing there.

Harrison was missing out on every wondrous day of that burgeoning life and the woman he desired and loved more than anything else in the world. Missing out because of his stupid masculine pride and ego.

He closed his eyes against the pain in his heart and the clenching of his gut. He didn’t know what else he might do to make amends for his atrocious behavior, to regain Maggie’s trust. Nothing. He had to accept that. He would do his best to care for her, provide for her and his child, but from a distance. He was his father’s son, after all, and she deserved better, as did their child. He’d proven he had nothing to offer outside of the basics and the superficial because blood would tell. As would nature over nurture.


Begging Briana

Tossing several items of clothing into her suitcase, Briana Jeffries then found a plastic makeup bag to stick a few toiletries in. It had taken a long time to accept the obvious but she’d finally accepted the fact Caleb wasn’t going to miraculously profess his love for her. Tonight had been the kicker.

She ignored the ache in her chest and concentrated on packing the things she needed, not that there were a lot. No way was she going to think about what was true. Except she couldn’t turn a blind eye. She loved Caleb and he didn’t love her. There. She said it again and that made it true.

Swiping impatiently at the tears suddenly streaking her face, she zipped the bag closed, taking a final look around the bedroom she shared with the love of her life for nearly three years. Too bad she hadn’t been the love of his. It was time to move on. Christina would be outside by now.

Hurrying down the stairs of the place she’d hoped would be her forever home, she steadfastly ignored all the little things she’d done to make it so, especially the plethora of pictures. The reflection of beautiful places and events, smiling, happy faces, pictures of her and Caleb, mocked her despite her best efforts not to look. Caleb must be blind not to see what they had between them, captured for the world to see, but apparently, it was her love that was blind. After throwing open the front door she hauled her case outside, barely avoiding the rebound of the heavy wooden panel as it slammed shut behind her, her keys now locked within. Final. No going back.

Peri Elizabeth Scott aka Allyson Young lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada where she and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.

She has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. That was followed by a mix of spicy (Ally) and sweet (Peribeth) romances in various genres as well as a post-apocalyptic adventure without a lick of romance by Peribeth.

A bestselling Amazon author, a hybrid, and a coauthor, as of November 2018 she has published seven series and several standalones, with others in the works.

For Now and Always – the final chapter

Chapter One was posted February 17th

Chapter Two was posted February 18th

Chapter Three was posted February 19th


A year later


Jenny and Alex had been married for six months.  It seemed like a lifetime ago that he had come to her apartment to apologize to her.  After they had finally come up for air, Alex had asked her to marry him… and Jenny had accepted.

As she put dinner on the table, she glanced at the clock again.  Where was Alex?  He should have already been home.

Jenny picked up the phone to call and check on him when she heard the front door open.  Rushing through the house, she smiled when she saw him.

“I was getting worried.”

He grinned at her. “I’m sorry.  Traffic was horrible.  I should have called, but I was in a hurry to get home.”

Alex walked over and pulled Jenny into his arms, kissing her.  If he lived to be a thousand, he would never tire of his wife.  Every day with her was special, filled with love, laughter and smiles.

“Why don’t you come to the kitchen for dinner?  I just put everything on the table.”

Following his delectable spouse to the back of the house, he was surprised.  There were candles lit around the kitchen, giving it a cozy romantic feel.

“Everything looks wonderful, honey.  What’s the special occasion?”

Jenny slowly walked to him and placed her hands on his chest.  “I went to the doctor today.”

His brow furrowed and he looked at her in concern.  “Are you okay?  I know you haven’t been feeling well, but I thought it was just a flu bug.”

Jenny shook her head.  “Not exactly.”

Alex was starting to get worried.  What was wrong with her?

“Jenny, please tell me what’s wrong.”

She gave him a hesitant smile.  “I’m pregnant.  You’re going to be a daddy.”

Alex stared down at his wife in shock.  Pregnant?  She was having his baby?

A huge smile broke across his face and he picked her up and swung her around.  Laughing, he smiled down at her and kissed her soundly.

Jenny laughed. “I take it that you’re pleased?”

“Very much so,” he murmured against her lips.  Alex kissed her until they were both gasping for air.

“I love you, Jenny.  I’ve loved you since I first met you.  I’ll love you for now and always.”


Thank you for reading For Now and Always. You can download the story in it’s entirety here for free!

For Now and Always – Chapter Three

Chapter One was posted February 17th

Chapter Two was posted February 18th

Chapter Three


Two weeks later


Jenny hadn’t left her apartment for anything other than going to the office to pick up her laptop and to get some groceries from the store.  She holed up in her apartment, worked from home, and ate a ton of junk food.

Seth and Alex had both called, apologizing for what had happened.  She had ignored the phone both times.  That had been a week ago, and Jenny still hadn’t called either of them back. What would she say?

Wearing a pair of threadbare holey jeans and a tee shirt that one was one size too small; Jenny had her hair up in a pony tail and hadn’t bothered with make-up in days.  If she had walked out on the street, someone would have mistaken her for a bum.

Startled, Jenny heard a knock on her apartment door.  Who on earth could it be?

Looking through the peep hole, all she saw were flowers.  Thinking it must be a delivery guy at the wrong address, she opened the door.  Shocked, she couldn’t move or speak.

“Hi Jenny,” Alex said in a quiet voice.  He had dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep.  His voice was thick with emotion. “Can I come in for just a minute?”

Jenny backed up to allow him into her tiny apartment.  She felt conflicted.  Part of her was happy to see her best friend, the other part was confused over how she should feel.

“What are you doing here, Alex?”

He sighed. “Since you wouldn’t take my call, I wanted to come and apologize in person.  I brought you these,” he said, handing her the mixed bouquet.

The flowers were beautiful.  Jenny sniffed them and went into the kitchen to put them in some water.

“Thank you for the flowers.  Alex, I didn’t call because I didn’t know what to say.”

He held up a hand to stop her. “I know and I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to make things weird between us.”

Jenny shook her head.  “It isn’t that.”

He tentatively stepped closer to her.  “Then what is it?”

Jenny looked up into his warm brown eyes, filled with concern and uncertainty.  What could she say to him?  That she didn’t know what to think or how to feel?

“I don’t know, Alex.  I don’t know anything right now.  It’s why I haven’t called.”

He reached out, wanting to pull her into his arms, but not sure if he should.  He had made such a mess of things!

“I’ll go.  Again, I’m really sorry, Jenny.”

She watched him walk to the front door.  “Alex, wait.”

He turned, curious.

Jenny quickly walked over to him.  She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him.  Alex returned her hug.

“It’s okay, Alex.  I know you didn’t mean for things to end the way they did.”

He swallowed.  “I think part of me did know it would end that way.  I think I wanted him to leave that day.”

Jenny looked into his eyes and saw love shining down on her.  How had she never seen it before?  Alex loved her!

“Maybe it was for the best.  I wasn’t comfortable in Seth’s world.  How could we have ever had a working relationship?”

Alex felt hope.  Was she saying what he thought she was?

“I’m still sorry Jenny.”

Jenny placed her fingers over his lips.  Feeling their warm, firm, soft texture, she was overcome with the need to feel his lips against hers.  Pushing up on her tip toes, she pulled his head down and kissed him.

Alex was surprised.  He tightened his embrace and kissed her back.  Kissing Jenny was every bit as wonderful as he had thought it would be.

Jenny gave herself up to the kiss.  Never had she felt anything like it.  She had been with guys before, but kissing Alex was better than anything she had ever felt before.

Breaking the kiss, she looked into his eyes.  “I love you, Alex.”

His eyes widened in surprise.  “Say that again.”

She smiled. “I love you.  I think I have for a long time and just didn’t realize it.”

He tenderly smiled back at her, caressing her cheek.  “I love you too.”

Pressing herself closer to him, she kissed him again.



For Now and Always – Chapter Two

Be sure to read Chapter One first (posted February 17th)

Chapter Two


A few hours later


Jenny was seated across from one of her best friends, Alex.  She had met him the first week she had moved to California about six years ago.  Actually, she had literally run into him.  As she had walked out of a store in Venice Beach, Alex had been walking down the sidewalk.  Jenny had barreled out of the store, not paying attention to where she was going, and had found herself face to chest with Alex.

Jenny and Alex had never dated.  They had been too afraid of spoiling their friendship, but Jenny would be lying if she said he wasn’t attractive.  Alex was six feet five inches tall, which put him a foot taller than Jenny.  He had dark wavy hair and warm brown eyes.  He worked out in the same gym as Jenny so she knew for a fact that he was well built.

The day was so beautiful they had decided to eat their lunch out on the patio.  Alex had talked her into meeting him in Huntington Beach.  He lived nearby so Jenny was fairly certain he would end up talking her into a swim at his place.

Alex owned a small white stucco home with an in-ground pool in the landscaped backyard.  There had been many a day that Jenny had spent time by Alex’s pool, sunning herself and swimming in the nice cool water.

“So,  how’s work?” Alex asked.

“It’s good.  The business is starting to grow so I’ve been making more and more covers.  I think we’re up to twenty submissions per day now.”

“That’s great!”

Jenny nodded. “What about you?”

Alex shrugged. “It’s okay I guess.  I had to let a few people go last week so I’ve been doing more of the work myself.  I don’t mind being outside, but I’ve gotten spoiled and I prefer having more free time.”

Alex owned his own landscaping business.  He’d built it up from scratch about five years ago at Jenny’s insistence.  Once she had seen what he could do, she had urged him to make a career out of it. Now, he had twenty employees and a steady stream of customers.  He was usually booked for three months solid.

When they finished their lunch, the waitress left the check for them.  Jenny and Alex reached for it at the same time, their hands brushing each other.

Alex smiled at her. “You know I’m not about to let you buy your own lunch.”

Jenny rolled her eyes.  It was an old argument. “As if I can’t afford a bowl of pasta and a soda!”

Alex laughed.  “I know you can, but I asked you to come out here for lunch so I’m paying.”

Jenny sighed. She knew better than to argue.  Alex always got his way. “Fine, I know better than to try and dissuade you.”

Alex paid for their meal and walked Jenny outside.  He wasn’t ready for the day to end just yet.  He knew they were just friends and that she had been seeing someone, but there were times he wished he would have asked her out on a real date.

“How about going to my place for a swim and some dessert?”

Jenny laughed.  Alex was so predictable. “I think I can swing that.  Actually, my whole day is free.”

Alex gave her a huge grin. “Great! I’ll meet you there.  I’m just going to make a quick stop on the way home.  Do you have your key?”

“Yes.  I’ll probably be out by the pool.”

“Of course, where else would I find a water nymph?”

Jenny laughed.  She had always been able to swim like a fish and had loved the water since birth.

They went their separate ways.  What they didn’t realize was that they were being watched.  Across the street, Seth sat in his car.  He hadn’t meant to spy on Jenny, but he had been in the area and had spotted her having lunch with another guy.

Jenny had told him she was meeting a friend for lunch.  Was this the friend?  Why hadn’t she told him she was meeting a guy?  Every time he saw her smile at the other man, his gut clenched.  Without realizing what he was doing, he began following her when she drove off in her little green bug.

He was surprised when she stopped outside of a small house two miles from the restaurant.  Was she visiting someone else now?  Maybe she hadn’t been lying and she really had just met the guy for lunch as friends.

Seth watched Jenny walk up the small walkway to the front door.  After fumbling with her key ring a moment, she unlocked the door.  What was going on?  Why did she have a key to this place and who lived here?

Sliding down in his seat, Seth decided to wait and see what happened.  He felt horrible for spying on her, but he couldn’t seem to help himself.  He was crazy about her, wanted to marry her, and now she was acting suspicious.  Surely she wasn’t cheating on him!

Fifteen minutes later, another car pulled into the driveway.  The same man from the restaurant climbed out of the black truck and walked up to the door.  Opening the door, he went inside and disappeared from Seth’s view.

Seth felt sick and hurt.  How could Jenny do this to him?  She had just been in his arms last night and now she was meeting another guy? How long had this been going on?

Rolling down his window, he breathed in the fresh air.  They weren’t too far from the ocean and he could smell the salt in the air.

Seth sat there for thirty minutes or so.  As he was about to start his car, he heard Jenny squeal.  The air rushed from his lungs.  The only time she made that sound was when she was truly having a good time.

Before he knew what he was doing, Seth was out of the car and walking toward the gate at the back of the property.  Amazingly enough, the gate was unlocked.  As he pushed it open quietly, he stepped into the lush backyard.  The landscaping was amazing.  Even more amazing was the sight in front of him.

Jenny was in a pool in a two piece bathing suit with another man’s arms around her.  As he swung her around in the water, she squealed with glee.  She looked so happy!  Seth had a hard time breathing.

Oblivious to the man standing in his yard, Alex tightened his arms around Jenny in a bear hug.  Her back was to him and he rested his stubbly chin on her shoulder, which made her squirm even more.

“Alex, cut it out!” Jenny giggled.  He knew that her neck was sensitive and the silly man was rubbing his five o’clock shadow against her sensitive skin.

He grinned and kissed her neck before releasing her. “Your wish is my command.”

Jenny turned and splashed him. “You’re such a doofus sometimes.”

Alex laughed.  “Only you can get away with calling me that.”

“Oh yeah?  And what would happen to someone else?”

Alex got a calculating look in his eye.  Uh-oh.  Too late, Jenny realized she had issued a challenge without meaning to.

“No, Alex!  I didn’t mean it!  Alex!”

Jenny shrieked and tried to swim away, but Alex caught her.  Pinning her to the side of the pool, he tickled her mercilessly.  She was laughing so hard she was crying.  As she wiped the tears from her eyes, she spotted Seth standing near the gate.

Pushing against Alex’s chest, Jenny swam to the other end of the pool.

“Seth, what are you doing here?”

Seth glanced between her and Alex.  He wasn’t sure what to say or what to do.  Part of him wanted to turn tail and run, pretend he hadn’t seen her with another man.  The other part, wanted to confront her.

“I was driving through the area and saw you enter the house.  When I heard you in the backyard, I thought I would surprise you and meet one of your friends.”

Jenny smiled at him, unaware that anything was wrong. “Well, come on.”

Seth was startled. She actually wanted him to meet her other boyfriend?  Was she trying to rip out his heart?

Alex had slowly swum up behind Jenny.  Assessing Seth, he knew exactly what the man was thinking.  He knew he should correct the situation immediately, but the little devil on his shoulder wouldn’t let him.

Turning, Jenny bumped into Alex.  She laughed up at him.  “Alex, this is my boyfriend Seth.  Seth, this is my friend Alex.”

Seth walked closer, nodding to Alex.  “It’s nice to meet you.”

Alex forced a grin. “You too.”

Finally sensing the tension, Jenny glanced between the two uncertainly.

“What’s going on?”

Seth shook his head. Was she really that naïve?  “I come in here and see you in the arms of another man.  What am I suppose to think Jenny?”

Jenny stepped closer to him. “Seth, please don’t feel that way.  Really, Alex and I are just friends.  I’ve known him since I moved out here.”

Seth looked at Alex.  He could tell the man liked her as more than just a friend.  The question was, did Jenny know?

“And you, can you honestly tell me that the two of you are just friends,” Seth asked Alex.

Alex shrugged.  “If you’re asking if I’ve ever kissed her, nothing more than a brief peck under the mistletoe.”

Seth knew he should just accept that answer and walk away, but he couldn’t.  “Why do I get the feeling you wouldn’t mind it being more than that?”

Jenny was getting angry, something that didn’t happen often. “What’s wrong with you Seth?  How dare you come in here and question me and my friend!”

Stalking out of the pool and over to her towel, she wrapped it around herself. “You obviously don’t trust me.  Maybe you should just leave.”

Seth opened his mouth to respond, but Jenny had already turned and marched into the house.  His anger deflated immediately.  What had he done?  Why had he pushed?  He should have just accepted her answer, smiled, and left them to have fun.  But no, he couldn’t do that.  Instead, he had to drive away the one person who could make him smile, the only woman he loved.

Before he could make an even bigger ass of himself, he turned and left the backyard.  Walking to his car, he decided to give Jenny some space. He’d call her in a day or two and try to make it up to her.


Alex watched Seth go.  He should say something; try to patch things up between the couple.  Instead, he didn’t move until after the gate had swung shut.  Climbing out of the pool, he grabbed his towel and went to check on Jenny.

Stepping into the cool kitchen, he found her sitting at the table, crying.  He swallowed, felt like hell for being the cause of her tears.  Walking over to her, he placed a hand on her shoulder.

Jenny looked up with tears streaming down her cheeks.  She stood and wrapped her arms around Alex, burying her face against his smooth tan chest.  She didn’t understand how Seth could be so cruel.  Where was the funny, light-hearted man she had come to care so much about?

“I’m sorry, Jenny.  Please don’t cry.”

She sniffled.  “Why are you sorry?”

“I should have said something, done something… made him stay so you could talk things out.  Instead, I let him leave, knowing he had hurt you, knowing that I had done nothing to stop it.”

“It isn’t your fault, Alex.  You and I both told him we were just friends.  It isn’t your fault that he was suspicious and didn’t believe us.”

Alex sighed.  He briefly tightened his arms around Jenny, knowing he was about to screw up their friendship. “It’s more complicated than that Jenny.”

She looked up at him. “What do you mean?”

Alex backed away, ran a hand through his hair, and tried to figure out what to say.  “We may have both told Seth that we were just friends, but…”

“But what?  Just tell me Alex.”

He looked at her, wondering if it would be for the last time.  “We said everything the right way, but there was one thing that I couldn’t help.”

“Alex, you’re killing me.  Please just tell me what’s going on.”

“The one that I couldn’t help was the way I look at you.”

Jenny was confused.  “The way you look at me?”

Alex looked tortured. How could he tell her that he was the reason her boyfriend had left?

“Don’t you know what an amazing woman you are?  You’re funny, beautiful, talented!  Seth said the things he did, because he realized that I have feelings for you that go beyond friendship.”

“What?” Jenny was shocked. She slowly sank into her chair.  Alex had feelings for her? More than friendship type feelings?  This was too much!  She didn’t know what to think or what to feel.

“I think it’s best if I leave for now,” she whispered, getting up and heading to the guest room to change her clothes.

Jenny dressed and drove home.  Out of habit, she left her bathing suit in the bathroom hamper along with her wet towel.  She wasn’t sure if she would be back or not. There was a lot to think about right now.


For Now and Always – Chapter One

Chapter One


Present Day – Anaheim Hills, California

Jenny flipped her hair out of her face and glanced at the man lying in bed next to her.  She’d only been seeing Seth for a few months, but she knew he was different than the others.  She sighed and looked at the clock.  It was only seven o’clock on a Saturday morning.  While she could stay in bed longer, there wasn’t much point since she was awake already.

Rolling to the edge of the bed, she sat up.  Stretching, she stood and walked to the bathroom.  Flipping on the light, she closed the door so she wouldn’t wake up Seth.  Jenny pulled her hair out of her face and quickly washed her face and brushed her teeth.  Brushing out her long blonde hair, she pulled it into a pony tail.

Turning off the light, she walked back into the bedroom.  Seth was still sleeping soundly.  Walking over to the bed, she watched him for a few minutes.  He was tall, well over six feet, with sandy hair, blue eyes, and an athletic build.  She could look at him all day and never grow tired of his seeing his face.

Jenny turned to the dresser and pulled out a pair of yoga pants and an aqua tee shirt.  Grabbing a bra and panties out of another drawer, she quickly dressed and slipped out of the bedroom.  Deciding to let Seth sleep a little longer, she went to the kitchen to figure out something for breakfast.


In the other room, Seth slowly woke up.  Reaching out beside him, he searched for Jenny.  Opening his eyes, he saw that the bed was empty.  He grabbed her pillow and buried his face in it, inhaling her sweet scent.  Jenny was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Before he met Jenny, he had just been drifting through life from one day to the next.  Seth’s parents had been independently wealthy.  When they passed away in a boating accident, he had inherited all of their money and the family business.  You would think that he would be happy, but money wasn’t enough.

Stretching, he rolled out of bed.  Quickly pulling on some clothes, we went in search of Jenny.  Seth spotted her the moment he left the bedroom.  Her small living room opened into her even smaller kitchen. Jenny was standing at the stove making breakfast.

Careful not to alert her to his presence, Seth stood quietly – watching her.  Even doing mundane tasks, Jenny had a grace and elegance most women would envy.  Jenny wasn’t tall, but she wasn’t exactly small either.  Standing at five feet five inches, she had long straight blonde hair, sky blue eyes, and a lithe dancer’s form.

Jenny was everything a man could hope to find.  She was bubbly, energetic, and always ready to explore the unknown.  She also had a heart as big as the sea.  Whenever someone was sick, Jenny was the first one to show up with homemade soup and some magazines.

Clearing his throat, Seth decided to make his presence known.  Otherwise, he would stand there all day watching her, wanting her, loving her.  He’d known for a little over a month that he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.  Seth just wasn’t sure how Jenny would react if he asked her to marry him.  His wealth had a tendency to unnerve her, which is why he was usually at her place instead of the mansion he owned in Malibu.

Hearing Seth, Jenny turned, smiling as she saw him.  From the first moment she had seen him, he had had the ability to steal her breath away.  He was well-to-do, too good looking for words, and for some inexplicable reason, he wanted to be with her.

“Good morning,” she said.

He smiled. “Morning.  You should have woken me.”

Jenny shook her head.  “I figured you needed your rest.”

She blushed remembering the previous night.  They had gone to a movie and dinner.  When Seth had brought her home, she’d invited him in for a glass of wine.  One thing had led to another and they had spent the entire night making love.

“I was thinking about going to the Santa Monica Pier today.  Would you like to go with me?”

“I’d like that, but I’m supposed to have lunch with a friend today.”

Seth nodded, he was disappointed, but he didn’t want her to break her plans.  He knew that Jenny didn’t have many friends and it wasn’t often that she did anything fun with them.  He wasn’t going to begrudge her having lunch with one of them just so he could spend more time with her.

“Maybe we can go next weekend,” he replied.

Jenny smiled. “That would be great.”

Fixing their plates, Jenny placed them on the small bistro table that dominated her tiny breakfast nook.  Her entire condo was less than a thousand square feet.  Since she was single and didn’t have any pets or kids, she hadn’t seen the need for a lot of space.

They ate their breakfast and discussed their plans for the week.  Seth’s business pretty much ran itself, but he still liked to pop in from time to time.  Jenny worked for a small publishing company designing book covers.  She could probably work from home a few days a week if she really wanted to, but Jenny kind of liked going in to the office.